UNGA 2020: King Salman calls for comprehensive solution on Iran

It was the Saudi monarch's first appearance at the UN General Assembly

In this image made from UNTV video, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at UN headquarters. (UNTV via AP)

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday called for a comprehensive solution on Iran, disarming its affiliate Hezbollah in Lebanon and expressed support for US efforts to start talks between Israel and the Palestinians during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

He said Iran has exploited a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers "to intensify its expansionist activities, creates its terrorist networks and use terrorism," adding that this had produced nothing but "chaos, extremism, and sectarianism."

"A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required," he told the 193-member General Assembly in a video statement, pre-recorded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States quit the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 with President Donald Trump dubbing it the "worst deal ever."

"Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security," King Salman said.

He said there must be a firm international position to stop Iran “getting weapons of mass destruction, stop its ballistic missile program, stop interference in other countries.”

He added that Saudi Arabia would not hesitate to defend itself and that it would not abandon the people of neighbouring Yemen, where the Saudi led Coalition is battling against Iran-backed Houthi rebels who took control of Sanaa and much of the north in a coup in 2015.

He said that the August 4 Beirut port blast that killed at least 190 and wounded thousands occurred as a result of Hezbollah’s “hegemony” over the decision-making process in Lebanon by force of arms.

“This terrorist organization must be disarmed,” he said.

Although the official investigation is ongoing, it is believed that thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate left in a warehouse at the docks for years and potentially stored near thousands of firecrackers ignited causing a blast and shock wave that damaged much of central Beirut.

“Hezbollah must be disarmed for the Lebanese to achieve security, stability and prosperity,” he said.

On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he reiterated the kingdom's stance that Arab Peace Initiative for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state provides the basis for a comprehensive and just solution.

"We support the efforts of the current US administration to achieve peace in the Middle East by bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis to the negotiation table to reach a fair and comprehensive agreement," he said.

Since Washington quit the 2015 nuclear deal two years ago it has imposed unilateral sanctions and asserts that all countries also have to reinstate UN sanctions in an attempt to push the Islamic Republic to negotiate a new deal.

But the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, including longtime US allies, and 13 of the 15 UN Security Council members say the US claim on UN sanctions is void and diplomats say few countries are likely to reimpose the measures.